Jefferson Market Courthouse in New York

A Love Affair with a Landmark in Manhattan: An Arresting Drama in Greenwich Village. [Opinions expressed are the views of OLD JEFF unless attributed to other - - potentially less-reliable - - sources, i.e., newcomers who have not been around since 1832 on Sixth Avenue.]

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jefferson Market: December 1912

By December 1912, artist William Zorach [February 28, 1887 - November 15, 1967] could feel his life was about to change. The 25-year-old bachelor had managed to save $1,200 from his job at a Manhattan lithography shop. Marguerite, the California artist he had fallen in love with, had been waiting at her home in Fresno until he had enough money to marry her. They had arranged to meet in New York just before Christmas at Grand Central Station.

• • Before her train arrived, Zorach noticed that a Salvation Army Band regularly took up a position in front of Jefferson Market. Standing in the cold on Sixth Avenue, Zorach did a pencil sketch of the scene. Later he would add a watercolor treatment.
• • Soon after Marguerite arrived in New York, they married. They rented a rat-ridden top floor on Sixth Avenue at West 55th Street. Since there was no kitchen, they bought a little gas stove and cooked in their bathroom. Between freezing and setting rat traps, the newlyweds decided they'd better move. They found a place on West 10th Street, over the office of a bail-bond lawyer, next door to the Cushman Bakery, and directly opposite the Jefferson Market Jail. For the next 20 years, this was their home - right off this corner.
• • condensed from Art Is My Life by William Zorach [World Publishing Company, 1967]

• • Artwork: A watercolor over pencil on paper by William Zorach, Salvation Army Band at Jefferson Market, 1912

Jefferson Market.